“We are in a fragmenting culture, where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women who have had years of education, to know nothing about the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers.”

“Reading, books, used to be part of a general education.”

“And we must remember that this respect and hunger for books comes, not from Mugabe’s regime, but from the one before it, the whites. It is an astonishing phenomenon, this hunger for books, and it can be seen everywhere from Kenya down to the Cape of Good Hope.”

“Yet despite these difficulties, writers came into being, and there is another thing we should remember. This was Zimbabwe, physically conquered less than a hundred years before. The grandfathers and grandmothers of these people might have been storytellers for their clan. The oral tradition. In one generation – two, the transition from stories remembered and passed on, to print, to books. What an achievement.”

“Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a processor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is, “Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write? Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas – inspiration.” (source)

As long as someone with a Mercedes has a better social standing than a university professor, as long as books are still very expensive in some parts of the world, as long as tv is the “new” medium for those who have been without such entertainment for a long time, as long as the old generation will still mistake LOLcats & Jackass videos on YouTube for the new digital world order – as long as these conditions persist – blogs will fill in the gap where publishers have just failed in the past, wikis will do what encyclopaedias have failed to deliver and multimedia online will provide what many controlled institutions are trying to hide from the masses.

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

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